Imagine opening a web page on The Onion to find a serious, staid article?
Now imagine opening a web page of The New York Times to digest a humorous, irreverent article lampooning some political prey?
Bizarro world, right? Confusing too. Things would be in reverse. Because The Onion is all about the silly satire while The New York Times is a serious, reputable website trusted by discerning newshounds.
It’d be like seeing a fish sandwich on a Pizza Hut menu. Something’s off.
I mucked my old blog up. Big time. Twas only for 6 years. Phew! Thank the lucky stars.
My blog was like The Onion trying to be a trusted news source. Or Pizza Hut trying to serve a delectable, tartar sauce smothered, omega fat rich sandwich. Something was off because…….my blog lacked top down alignment.
When you go to Pizza Hut you expect all things to be aligned with Italian food, preferably pizza. From the menu to décor to the smell in the kitchen, if you smell pizza, all is good. They do 1 thing. They do it darn well. You trust ’em. So Pizza Hut reels in customers. But the split second the Pizza Hut brand deviates from their niche, they confuse their customers. You don’t go to *Pizza* Hut to buy a fish sandwich.
MOB – My Old Blog – was a mob, or a veritable jambalaya of niches: make money online one day, online business the next, personal development the following day. Even worse: my blog design reflected my chaotic mental state.
My mind felt like the Holland Tunnel at rush hour. Thoughts and feelings sprinted through my noggin’ at a breakneck pace. This mental pablum leaked into my blog. And it wasn’t pretty.
Top Down Mis-Alignment
My domain name aligned with 1 niche. My blog title, the same niche. Then I jumped the shark. From my tag line to my blog posts to my sidebar to my pages to my ads to my footer, my blog was The Variety Hour. My blog confused my readers. Because I tried to be everything to everybody. Posts related to 23 niches (I am not kidding), pages to another niche, ads to yet another niche, and so on and so on.
What could I offer readers? Everything under the sun, it seemed. Which didn’t make sense. Because Pizza Hut would not be Pizza Hut if Pizza Hut sold fish sandwiches, delivered mail, fixed cars and offered wedding cakes.
Based on my old blog design, and on my content, I could effectively cover 36 niches in great detail. Wow…..a specialist!
Imagine if Tony Robbins said, “Yeah, I’m the Why Guy. A self help coach. But I also shine shoes. I’m a part time garbage man too. Only part time, though. On the side, I remove slugs from gardens. Here, check out this slug removal ad on my blog……”
If that sounds absurd…..it is. But why did I make the dreaded mis-alignment mistake for years? Why do many bloggers fall victim to the same error?
I didn’t follow these tips.
Step 1: Blog About 1 Topic (You Feel Passionate about)
I go gaga over travel. I go bonkers over blogging.
So I hatched Blogging from Paradise.
I blog about how to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.
I align my blog – top-down – around that 1 topic. No confusion. No mis-alignment.
Think about it; you can only align a blog around 1 specific topic. Once you deviate from 1 topic, you break alignment.
During the lean years I blogged about 32 different things. I am not kidding. My tag cloud (God I can’t believe I posted one on my sidebar) looked like a crime scene. Total chaos. I was a jerk of all trades. Now I’m a master of fun. And, a master of 1. 1 topic.
What can you talk about all day long? Blog about it. That’s it. That’s your topic. That’s where your passionate energy lies. That’s where your success lies.
Step 2: Align Your Blog Top Down
The easy part. Fish in a barrel.
Align your blog with your 1 topic. Top down.
Start at your domain name. Does it align with your topic? It does? Good.
Proceed down your blog. Analyze every element. Does every single THING on your blog align with that 1 topic? Or are you trying to sell fish sandwiches at Pizza Hut?
Analyze your blog title.
Analyze your blog header, scouring over this branded logo.
Assess your blog posts. Assess every element in your sidebar.
Assess your pages.
Check every single element on your blog, from your domain name to your footer. Leave no blogging stone unturned.
Get down and dirty. It’s OK to have dirt under your blogging fingernails as you carefully, thoughtfully mine each ad, banner, image, word and heck, every piece of content on your blog.
If every single item aligns 100% with your 1 topic, you’re golden.
Top Down Alignment Mistake
My beloved Thailand is the origin of intriguing shops. 12 in 1 shops. Shops that are: food stalls/motorbike rental spots/internet cafes/print spots/tour operators, and toss in 4 other functions to round out possibilities. Multi purpose. Many possibilities. But you remember the “jerk of all trades” line. Confusing, right?
If I want a bowl of delicious mixed vegetable curry I’m heading to the Buddhist vegetarian restaurant. And believe me, Kelli doesn’t need to hold a gun to my head to make this happen. The food is amazing. Cheap. Delightful.
Because the Buddhist veggie restaurants do 1 thing, and do it well.
I don’t even think about the 14 in 1, multi purpose shops if I want my veggie fix. Too confusing. You can’t do 14 things well. Even if you’re an affluent octopus who’s invested in a 6 arm transplant.
During my rookie/intermediate/veteran but idiot days I allowed greed, fear, and a lack of clarity to cloud my mind.
I added blog elements just to make a few pennies. Said elements were about as aligned with my blog as Kim Kardashian is aligned with wearing burkas.
Example; I posted Google Adsense ads to my old blog. Ads ranging from buying images for pennies, to real estate stuff to other crap totally not aligned with my 1 blog topic. I tried to sell logistics services out of a pharmacy.
People showed up for drugs. Legal drugs, of course. I tried to sell them on shipping pet food to their grandma in Dubuque, Iowa (Note; if this is you, understand there are cheaper ways to ship pet food to Iowa than through using a logistics service).
Put your peepers here:
Review my blog with a fine-toothed comb. Everything you see, from domain name to footer, aligns 100% with how to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. No deviating. No confusion. Aha!
How the “Reeling in Readers” Part Works
Rewind a bit. Review the prior 2 sentences. Ignore the “aha!”. Dwell on “no confusion.”
Readers crave clarity. Readers crave aligned blogs. Blogs covering 1 specific, clear, focused topic.
Most well-meaning but unclear bloggers add non aligned stuff to their blogs. Irrelevant ads. Off topic posts. Non sequiters. Confusion. Exit blog.
BUT……the few bloggers – check out Blogging Tips (Zac knows what time it is) for a fabulous example – who demand that every single *thing* on their blog aligns with their 1 topic find that readers come a’biting every day.
Zac reels in readers by tossing an attractive, shiny, non-confusing lure in the form of a clear, aligned blog. People ain’t gonna see anything but “blogging tips” here. So they show up. They bite. They go for the lure. Again and again.
Readers solve their blogging tips themed problems with aligned, practical, beneficial content. More lives changed.
More readers. More fun. More business. Both parties prosper.
Toss an irresistible lure. Align your blog top down.
Do You Get Lost in Blogging Busywork?
My prime business intent going forward is to get my 124 ebooks in 1 billion places. That’s it. I will promote other opportunities of course and prosper through multiple channels but it is a billion with my 124. Hold me to that. Wait a second. You won’t have to hold me to that. I’m pretty good about being accountable to myself.
Anyway, it’s been fascinating to see moments of my mind attempting to pull me to blogging busy work. You know exactly what I mean. For me, my day is largely about promoting my ebooks through Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, guest posts, Live broadcasts on Facebook, my podcast, and videos on Twitter as well. Other than promoting a few other opportunities, I do not intend to do anything else. But of course my mind tries to pull me toward blogging busy work at times. How does my sidebar look? Is my sidebar converting enough? What about blog comments? Should I open comments on specific old blog posts? Each question indicates some type of busy work that is not genuinely important or business building for your blog. Of course, most bloggers spend a fair chunk of their days on busy work and wonder why they struggle and fail so horribly. If you spend most of your time doing what does not matter, you will fail. But if you spend most of your time doing what does matter, creating and connecting and opening multiple streams of income, you will succeed. Blogging is that simple.
But blogging is not comfortable at all because even though we intellectually know to avoid busy work, our fears pull us in towards the silly activities. Some bloggers spend weeks or months or even years doing stuff that ultimately does not matter. Why spend hours on your blog design when it’s the content you create and the connections you build that lead to your greatest blogging success? You have to be honest with yourself when it comes to blogging. Being straight with yourself makes the difference between success and failure.
I usually catch myself within seconds to minutes of being engaged in busy work that does not really make a difference. I scan my email in seconds. I am down to that number now. But I recall my struggling days when I would be in my email for 20 minutes or an hour or longer every day. I tried to read every word of every email. I tried to engage every silly sponsored post pitch. Huge mistakes. I wasted so much time on what didn’t matter. You know what matters? Creating helpful content and building genuine connections with human beings by helping other bloggers. Do these things and you position yourself to succeed. Add income streams and you position yourself to become a full-time blogger, just like I discuss in this eBook.
Blogging is simple but uncomfortable. Creating and connecting feels uncomfortable when your fear pulls you toward busy work. Ego is like that. The mind is like that. It makes a mountain out of a molehill by pulling you away from core, business building blogging activities towards stuff that waste your time. I have never looked at a heat map in my blogging life yet I’ve circled the globe for the past eight years as a professional blogger. Feel free to spend a few moments checking out heat maps but when moments become hours, you’re messing up. You’re too engaged in blogging busy work. Help people freely and generously. Trust in the process. Open multiple streams of income. Promote your core opportunity the most, like me promoting my 124 ebooks. Success will find you.
Do You Reject or Accept Opportunities for Growth?
I just wrote and self published this ebook in a little over 24 hours:
not bad, eh? I asked my readers for ebook ideas. I received answers. I wrote the ebook. I really hustled on this one. I’ve already generated a quick sale. How? I accept opportunities for growth immediately. Do you feel the same way? Or do you reject opportunities for blogging growth? Be honest with yourself. This is not a comfortable process for bloggers to follow because your ego may sting a little bit.
Blogging struggle is borne of rejecting opportunities for growth. Blogging success is born of accepting opportunities for blogging growth immediately. I opened another income stream within 24 hours based on seizing an opportunity immediately. No hesitating. No hemming and hawing. No delaying. Other than sleeping for a handful of hours I did nothing else other than write the ebook, proofread the ebook, add photos and publish the sucker during that 24-hour stretch. Oh yeah. I also did some networking and content creating and yes, I promoted a handful of my 123 books. But I wrote ebook number 124 during that time frame too. Why? I love blogging. I love freedom. I love seizing opportunities for blogging growth.
Emerson said all life is an experiment and the more experiments you make the better. This wise man knew the secret to success. Seize the moment and squeeze all you can out of the moment by accepting opportunities for blogging growth fast. If a reader nudges you to write an ebook, write the darn ebook. Do not delay. Unless you despise writing, and you probably don’t because you blog, write the ebook, help the reader and make money. If one reader has that issue than 50 million readers have that issue. We are all human beings with pretty similar problems when you break everything down.
How quickly do you reject opportunities for growth because you fear something or someone? My most lucrative freelance writing client basically had to beg me to work for him. I so deeply feared I would not be worth the money he was paying me and I also feared his criticism, even though he was such a nice, warm, genuine dude. After he would not accept me saying no, I accepted the job and made a pretty penny over the course of our relationship. I learned my lesson. Now I gobble up opportunities for growth so quickly it’ll make your head spin.
I could go to bed right now to take a quick nap. I just worked for the long stretch to write the e-book and release it. But I gobble up this opportunity to write a guest post. Again guys, I accept opportunities for growth and grow like a stinking blogging weed.
Do not ignore opportunities because you fear seizing blogging opportunities because ignorance leads to struggle, failure and quitting. Seize the moment. Seize opportunities for blogging growth. Write the guest post. Broadcast live on Facebook. Upload a video to Twitter. Write the ebook. Convert it to audiobook. Create a course. How do you think I retired to a life of island hopping? I did not sit on the sidelines folks, waiting and waiting and waiting for opportunities. I seized opportunities for growth quickly and more opportunities flowed my way. Opportunities seized, multiply fast. Opportunities rejected disappear immediately.
Seize the blogging moment!
No Blogger Can Force Clients Customers or Readers to Learn and Succeed
Sometimes you just need to get right to the point with blog post titles. This is one such title and blog post. After answering questions for readers recently I made a realization. Honestly, I’ve had this realization in mind for many years. I guess I never chose to write about it. But today I will cover the topic. You cannot force a reader, client or customer to learn and succeed. This is just not possible. You cannot will someone to see what they are not prepared to see or do what they are not prepared to do.
Sometimes, coaches struggle horribly because they base their success or failure on the success or failure of clients. This is lunacy. You can show a horse the way but you cannot force the horse to drink, right? Ditto for human beings. You can coach someone but you cannot force them to do what you advised them to do. That is 100% in their hands. In truth, the best blogging coaches, ebook writers and consultants are at peace with doing their best job and leaving it at that.
I regularly answer questions for free, offering experience, helpful advice for new or struggling bloggers. Said newer struggling bloggers return within a few seconds with more questions, trying to find a different way to succeed, trying to find the quick shortcuts that lead to guaranteed failure. I release these people. Although I have compassion for fear-filled new and struggling bloggers, it is not my job to convince them of my 30000 hours of blogging experience. Either they’re smart and listen, humbling themselves and their ego. Or they make the foolish decision of trusting their fears over my 30000 hours of blogging experience. Either way, I have nothing to do with their outcomes. They choose to listen or to ignore me. I’m cool with that.
Be clear with the fact that most humans live predominately from fear so until they change their programming through a personal decision they will ignore good advice and follow bad advice. Self-fulfilling prophecy. In the same regard, you can trigger emotions in someone that allows them to follow your successful advice. Someone may open up and learn from you if it’s their time to open up. Totally their personal decision that has nothing to do with you. This is why I never get full of myself. I understand everybody’s life is their choice. I can show the way. You choose to follow or ignore. Nothing to do with me.
Stop wasting your energy trying to convince, manipulate or flat-out force clients and customers to do what you advise them to do. Offer your advice. Detach. Some folks will follow your advice and succeed with their blogs. Other folks will ignore your advice and continue to fail. You did what you could but now it’s up to them to use your knowledge and experience for their benefit. Keep helping people. Keep meeting new people. Don’t get attached to clients or customers. Offer tips and leave it at that. Every human being is fully accountable for themselves. You are a blogger, not a babysitter. You inspire but you’re not a savior. You can try but you can’t force people to do anything. Be at peace with this truth and you will become more successful than you ever dreamed. Most bloggers never succeed wildly because they never scale, being heavily attached to a few clients or customers. Highly successful, happy, free bloggers keep meeting and helping new people and allowing those people to find their own way. I am responsible for no one but myself. This is how I’ve lived the life of my dreams.
Do you want to live a movie-worthy life of travel like me?
Buy my eBook:
PS…the featured image is me in New Zealand and the hut above is where me and my wife lived deep in the jungles of Costa Rica.
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